Discrimination and Your Rights

Explanation of Discrimination and your protection under the law.

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Illegal discrimination is when:

  1. You are treated differently from others in a similar situation; and
  2. You are harmed by treatment ; and
  3. You are treated this way because of your membership in a protected class * or
  4. Your request for a reasonable accommodation due to a disability is refused without a valid business reason.

The Fair Housing Act which is a combination of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Amendments of 1988 makes it illegal to discriminate in housing sales or rentals or in housing lending, advertising, insurance appraisals and zoning on the basis of :

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Familial Status

St. Louis City Ordinance No. 67119 also prohibits discrimination on the basis of:

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Source of Income and
  • Marital Status (lending)

 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, referral, and other aspects of employment on the basis of:

  • Race 
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Age

Retaliation against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes an unlawful employment practice is prohibited by all of these Federal laws.


The Investigation

After you sign a charge, CREA will contact the person who has been accused of discrimination, known as the Respondent. CREA will send the Respondent a copy of the charge document, as well as a request for information and a written response to the charge.

We try to assign your case to an investigator within 30 days after you have signed the charge document. Often this step occurs much sooner. In some circumstances, however, it can take longer. Housing discrimination cases are assigned immediately. After assignment, an investigator will contact you to confirm that the case is now active.

After receiving a reply from the Respondent, the assigned investigator will meet with you to discuss your case, and to explain our investigation process in more detail.

Before you meet with your investigator for the first time, note the details of what happened to you, including the dates, times, and who was present or involved. Make a list of possible witnesses, including their phone numbers and addresses.

The investigator gathers evidence by conducting interviews, obtaining witness statements, and reviewing written information. As the Charging Party, you must prove that illegal discrimination has taken place. The investigator will explain the "elements" of your case that you must prove.

The average length of an CREA investigation is six months (100 days for HUD cases). Each case is different, and cases may take more or less time depending on the circumstances.

What to Expect

Intake Questionnaire - The First Step

If you feel you have been discriminated against, call CREA at314-622-3301 to speak with our intake investigator. You also can visit our office in the Carnahan Courthouse, 1114 Market St., Suite 932 in downtown St. Louis.

To help us learn more about your situation, please fill out the Intake Questionnaire below. You can fill it out online and send it to us electronically, or you can print out a copy, fill it out and mail it to us. To avoid delays in processing, please submit only one Intake Questionnaire to CREA (either by mail, online, or in person) regarding the same matter.

The questionnaire provides us with information we can use to help us serve you. It is not a formal complaint. Once we receive your completed questionnaire, we will review it and then contact you for more information. You do not have to fill out the questionnaire in order to contact us about filing a charge.

To complete the Intake Questionnaire online,click here (NEW!)

Additional Information

Please note: The Civil Rights Enforcement Agency has jurisdiction within St. Louis City limits. A charge of discrimination must be filed within 180 days of the date the incident under consideration occurred. If your situation does not qualify for investigation by our agency, we will refer you to another agency for help.

Report Incident

Or call 314.622.4800


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